Respect for Marriage Act to repeal DOMA introduced in House & Senate

U.S. Rep. Barney Frank (at podium) speaking at March 16 DOMA repeal press conference as Task Force Executive Director Rea Carey and others look on. Credit: Kathy Plate

The National Gay and Lesbian Task Force applauds the introduction of the Respect for Marriage Act, landmark legislation to repeal the so-called Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA).

U.S. Reps. Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.), Barney Frank (D-Mass.), Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis.), Jared Polis (D-Colo.), David Cicilline (D-R.I.) and John Conyers (D-Mich.) today announced the bill’s reintroduction in the House. And, for the first time, the legislation has been introduced in the Senate where it is championed by lead sponsors Sens. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) and Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.). National Gay and Lesbian Task Force Executive Director Rea Carey attended today’s House and Senate press conferences announcing the bill.

The Respect for Marriage Act seeks to repeal DOMA, a 1996 law that targets legally married same-sex couples for discriminatory treatment under federal law, selectively denying them critical federal responsibilities and rights. Following the Obama administration’s recent announcement that it will no longer defend DOMA in court, House Republican leaders vowed to move to protect the discriminatory law. More on that here.

Carey had this to say:

“It is shocking that in 21st-century America, legally married same-sex couples are being singled out and selectively denied fundamental rights by their own federal government. This is an outrage. The Respect for Marriage Act does just that — it respects and protects the rights of legally married couples to live free from this government-sanctioned discrimination. Today’s introduction marks an important step toward recognizing our common humanity and ending an egregious injustice against thousands of loving, committed couples who simply want the protections, rights and responsibilities already afforded other married couples. We thank the many House and Senate members who recognize that DOMA has no place on the books and support its full, swift repeal. DOMA has only served to belittle our country’s deeply held values of freedom and fairness. It has only served to hurt families, not help. This must end now.”